Oceanic Evaporation and the Weather Cycle

“All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; to the place from which the rivers come, there they return again.”

– Ecclesiastes 1: 7

watercycle

1. It has only been in relative recent times that mankind has understood how weather patterns work
  • The science of weather is a lot younger than some peer fields in the earth sciences

2. Central to meteorology is the Water Cycle (Hydrologic Cycle)

  • The cycle is based on the premise that the oceans and seas are ultimately the source for the precipitation we see in the world (whether it is in the form of rain, snow, hail, or sleet)
  • In short, water evaporates out of the ocean (as well as the seas and lakes) and eventually returns to them in the form of condensation or precipitation (i.e., through rainfall, hail, sleet, and snow)

3. Solomon writes the words to Ecclesiastes roughly 950 BC or about 2700 years prior to scientists being able to prove the source of the world’s precipitation

  • Solomon’s statement must have seemed absurd to people of his day – that the rivers are flowing back into their ultimate source, namely the oceans and the seas
  • Yet, that is exactly the case…

“The Lord’s home reaches up to the heavens, while its foundation is on the earth. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The Lord is His name!”

– Amos 9: 6

weathercycle

1. Like Solomon before him, Amos pens these words well before modern science (i.e., about 750BC) and evidences remarkable insight into the Water Cycle

  • Outside of the Bible, it would seem that a Roman architect / engineer by the name of Marcus Vitruvius began to theorize that evaporation was taking place (1st Century BC)
  • Leonardo Da Vinci some 1500 years later, came to the same conclusion
  • The formal field of Hydrology (study of the flow of water) doesn’t come on the scene until a couple of hundred years after Da Vinci, with the work of Perrault, Marriote, and Hailey 1

2. Two French scientists, Pierre Perrault (1608 – 1680) and Edme Marrriote (1620 – 1684), used math to measure rain flow, run-off and drainage

  • They determined that rain was sufficient to explain the flow of water within the Seine River 2

3. Edmund Halley (1656 – 1742), the English astronomer and meteorologist for whom the comet is named, determined that evaporation coming out of the Mediterranean could explain many of the rivers flowing back into the Med 3

4. “By measuring rainfall, runoff, and drainage area, Perrault showed that rainfall was sufficient to account for flow of the Seine. Mariotte combined velocity and river cross-section measurements to obtain discharge, again in the Seine. Halley showed that evaporation from the Mediterranean Sea was sufficient to account for the outflow of rivers flowing into the sea.” 4

5. The Bible is accurate in its oceanography